Imaginary Conversation in Which You Are a Flock of Birds
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Abstract The following collection contains poems written over the course of ten months, beginning in May, 2015. They interrogate, as one poem states, a “subject” that “remains as both a presence and an absence,” or, more precisely, the subject of loss, manifest as both emotional loss (heartbreak) and physical loss (death), and in the address to “Birds,” which begins in the third poem in this version—“Birds” or “birds” standing in for the missing person(s) who would be addressed, and who are, therefore, both present and absent. The resulting trauma of this loss becomes apparent in the shifts in mood that occur from poem to poem—the shifts that occur internally (the trauma originates from within the speaker) and externally (the speaker is subjected to this trauma). The speaker of this poem translates the experience of loss through her relationship to “Birds,” in part because the address conjures the image of a flock of birds (many at once) working as a unit, and single entities, specific persons. As such, the lessons in the poems are meant to address both “the reader” (many at once) and the specific addressees, the specific losses of the speaker. Additionally, “Birds” are used to conjure methods of escape (flight, fancy), and are meant to categorize the speaker’s distress by being primarily non-sequitur in nature, not elaborated upon much, not categorically interrogated or utilized as a metaphor, as with “space,” another repeating subject in the collection (“Basically I care about space / because we had a conversation about it once.”) It is precisely disinterest of the speaker in the subject of birds that makes the stand-in carry weight.
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Theobald, Laura, "Imaginary Conversation in Which You Are a Flock of Birds" (2016). LSU Master's Theses. 2389.